In 1999 Tobias Jones immigrated to Italy, expecting to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors. Instead, he found a very different country: one besieged by unfathomable terrorism and deep-seated paranoia. The Dark Heart of Italy is Jones's account of his four-year voyage across the Italian peninsula.
Jones writes not just about Italy's art, climate, and cuisine but also about the much livelier and stranger sides of the Bel Paese: the language, soccer, Catholicism, cinema, television, and terrorism. Why, he wonders, does the parliament need a "slaughter commission"? Why do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a "brothel"? Most of all, why does one man, Silvio Berlusconi-in the words of a famous song-appear to own everything from Padre Nostro (Our Father) to Cosa Nostra (the Mafia)?
The Italy that emerges from Jones's travels is a country scarred by civil wars and "illustrious corpses"; a country that is proudly visual rather than verbal, based on aesthetics rather than ethics; a country where crime is hardly ever followed by punishment; a place of incredible illusionism, where it is impossible to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.
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Tobias Jones studied at Jesus College, Oxford. He was on the staff of the London Review of Books and of The Independent on Sunday before moving, in 1999, to Parma, Italy.From Publishers Weekly:
With his first book, Jones must now be admitted to the company of writers such as Alexander Stille and Tim Parks who seem to understand Italy and the Italians better than the natives do themselves. Jones excels at writing about the passions aroused on the soccer field and the dirty machinations in the club offices in an entertaining chapter entitled "Penalties and Impunity." He realizes, though, that soccer is just a manifestation of a deeper, lurking cancer: Italy's dismal mediacracy. It all began in the wake of "Tangentopoli," the massive corruption scandal in the early 1990s that brought down a regime that included the eternally powerful Christian Democrats and their partners in a Faustian pact, the Socialists. Into this political vacuum stepped the irrepressible owner of the country's most successful soccer club, A.C. Milan, Silvio Berlusconi. He built a media empire that now touches every aspect of daily life in Italy; his presence hovers over Italians much as Big Brother hovers over 1984 and his visage looms over a typical Italian town on the book's cover. But Berlusconi, writes Jones, although on the political scene for a decade, is a relatively recent chapter in the sordid history of Italy. Jones does a fine job of explicating (as much as it can be explicated) the murky history of neo-fascist, right-wing and Mafia intrigues against the Italian Republic after WWII. On a lighter note, he playfully dissects the Italians' obsession with beauty and eroticism. Jones, who had been on the staff of the London Review of Books, moved to Parma in 1999 and has developed a sincere and profound love of Italy and the Italians.
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Descripción Faber and Faber, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX057123593X